The Things We Leave Behind

A devotion on 1 Timothy 6:6-7

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out.
–1 Timothy 6:6-7

A parable I heard from the pulpit when I was a child has stuck with me ever since:

A wealthy man lay on his death bed. His time was short and he knew it. This made him very sad. Though he was a Christian, he was reluctant to leave this earth.

Here, he owned several enormous houses, full of rare and expensive treasures. In Heaven, he had heard, everyone would be equal. There, he suspected, no one would treat him with the deference to which he was accustomed. In his heart of hearts, he preferred to stay here a little longer — even in poor health.

One night, God visited the man in a dream and told him he could bring one thing — just one — with him to Heaven.

The man awoke and phoned his assistant, instructing him to liquidate everything, convert the money to gold bars, and to fill a large suitcase with it.

When the suitcase arrived, the man looked on the shining contents, wrapped his hand around the handle, and died.

Next thing he knew, he was at the gates of Heaven. An angel said, “Welcome, Brother. What do you have?”

The rich man proudly opened his luggage. But the angel frowned in confusion. “I don’t understand,” he said. “Why did you bring paving stones?”


Holy God, Help me remember the only thing I leave this world with is my character. Mold me in Your image. May I find contentment in You alone. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.


What things do I expect to keep throughout eternity?